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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

URI Making a Difference Campaign: Saulnier endowment

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URI couple preserves memories
Establishes a memorial endowment at alma mater

KINGSTON, R.I. -- March 7, 2007 -- Phil Saulnier '62 and Judy (Stone) Saulnier '61 have memories filled with joy and with sorrow. As undergraduates, they fell in love with the campus and each other.

When the Dunn Loring, Va. couple felt the need to find a way to preserve the memory of their lost loved ones, it was no surprise they chose to establish a memorial endowment at the University. Their gift is part of URI's Making a Difference Campaign.

But let's start at the beginning. If men and women had dined together on campus in 1958 it's possible that Phil and Judy would never have met. They both were asked to serve on a committee to discuss the feasibility of eliminating gender separation at meal times.

A physical education major, Phil was co-captain of the 1961 football team and the cadet colonel in the University's ROTC program. He later received a master's degree in management from Florida Institute of Technology.

Judy studied elementary education and, like Phil was active in the Greek community' Phil in Theta Chi, she in Sigma Kappa.

The couple married while in school. Their son, Michael, was born when Phil was a senior and Judy was finishing her first year of teaching. Two more children quickly followed; Robert and Charlotte. The couple is blessed with four grandchildren.

"The University was a great stepping off point for us," Phil says. "We have such fond memories and made such lifelong friends."

After graduation, Phil was commissioned an infantry officer and assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division. He later transferred to the Quartermaster Corps where he commanded a battalion in the 9th Infantry Division and a Support Group in the 18th Airborne Corps. His 24-year Army career included two tours of duty in Vietnam.
In his retirement years, he founded and is president of a service-connected disabled veteran owned company, AMERICA'S Pride: Supporting Service-Connected Disabled Veterans, advocating for soldiers with disabilities and their spouses.

As active members of the Washington, D.C. Alumni Chapter, they are continually creating new memories. Phil was chapter president for 10 years. He is currently a URI Foundation trustee.

For the Saulniers, family, alma mater, and service are top priorities. Hence, the Saulnier-Stone Memorial Endowment is named after their son, Robert, who was killed in an auto accident when he was 20. It is also named after Judy's mother, Elaine King Stone, who died at 51 and after Judy's sister, Charlotte Elaine Stone, who died when she was 10.

The endowment will provide scholarships for undergraduate students majoring in any of the humanities. The couple chose the humanities to match the interests of their son and Judy's mother.

"The Saulniers are the kind of people we wish we could clone for URI," comments Robert Beagle, vice president of University Advancement. "They are donors and volunteers with a passion for the University who have chosen a touching way to honor their late family members while helping their alma mater."

The University's Making a Difference Campaign, which will be publicly launched in fall 2007, seeks $100 million to recruit and retain outstanding faculty, enhance the student-centered campus experience, provide undergraduate scholarships and graduate fellowships, and fund cutting-edge academic and research initiatives.